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Virginia Tech spring game: Logan Thomas takes reins at quarterback from Tyrod Taylor

By Mark Giannotto,

BLACKSBURG, Va. — The official unveiling of the Logan Thomas era began inauspiciously, in much the same fashion it did last April, when Virginia Tech’s new starting quarterback played his first spring game.

A year after he lost his lunch on the field during the national anthem, Thomas began Saturday’s spring game by throwing an interception on his first pass attempt. But to the relief of thousands of maroon and orange-clad fans, by the end of the afternoon Coach Frank Beamer said Thomas had convinced him that he’s ready to take the reins from Tyrod Taylor this fall.

Thomas led the maroon team to a 27-0 victory over the white team, completing 10 of his 21 passes for 131 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions — both of which were the result of drops by his own receivers. He also led all rushers by scrambling for 37 yards.

In six scrimmages this spring, Thomas finished 50 for 91 for 743 yards, 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. But more important than any statistic is the faith he now inspires in his teammates.

“He said earlier he hoped to gain our confidence, and I can say he definitely has,” said wide receiver Danny Coale. “I expected big things out of him coming into the spring, and he kind of surpassed those. He’s been real special.”

If the spring is any indication, it seems Thomas also has found a favorite target. Redshirt junior Marcus Davis had six catches for 61 yards and two touchdowns Saturday, capping a breakout offseason for the wide receiver.

Davis — a 6-foot-4, 231-pound specimen who set a program record by recording a 44-inch vertical jump this winter — led all wide receivers this spring with 23 catches for 297 yards and four touchdowns. Even though the Hokies are loaded at wideout this year — with three returning seniors who have seen significant playing time in the past — Beamer said Saturday that the redshirt junior has shown he must be on the field this fall.

“I told him the other day he’s getting ready to make a lot of money if he keeps going in the direction he’s going,” Beamer said.

Coale can punt, too

It caught most Virginia Tech fans by surprise when Beamer announced two weeks ago that Coale, one of his starting wide receivers the past three seasons, was a legitimate contender to become the Hokies’ punter next fall. On Saturday, the coach put to rest any notion that he was joking around, saying the punting job is Coale’s to lose entering preseason practices in August.

Beamer said he feels more comfortable with the redshirt senior because he has a strong leg and actual game experience, unlike the two other contenders, Ethan Keyserling and Scott Demler. Beamer added that Coale must focus on becoming a “two-step kicker,” rather than taking three steps as he does now.

Coale, who kicked and punted at Episcopal High in Alexandria, averaged 44 yards on two punts Saturday, including a towering 53-yarder that was nearly downed inside the two-yard line and drew a loud ovation from the crowd.

“It was called luck. Luckily it just kind of worked,” said Coale, who joked afterwards he isn’t sure yet whether to warm up with the specialists or the rest of the team.

Spring awards

Thomas was named the offensive MVP of the spring. Defensive end James Gayle earned the defense’s MVP award after finishing the spring with six sacks. Among local players, guard David Wang (Stone Bridge) was named the most improved offensive player of the spring, and linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow (Stone Bridge) earned the hustle award for his work during the offseason and spring.

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